Richard is a specialist in the area of Exercise Physiology. His research is focused on improving human performance and health through exercise training and the use of novel interventions. He has a specific interest in the effects of blood flow restricted (BFR) exercise on skeletal muscle and peripheral vascular adaptations.

Richard teaches on modules across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. He has acted as Programme Director for the BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and led a major review of the programme in 2018.

Richard has been involved in Sport and Exercise Science for over 20 years; he joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in 2007, having previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. Richard gained his Ph.D. from Manchester Metropolitan University, during which time he worked at the August Krogh Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He obtained his B.Sc. in Sport and Exercise Science, as well as an M.Phil., from the University of Birmingham.

He is an active and (fairly) competitive cyclist.

Richard’s current research involves international collaborators including Prof David Bishop (Victoria University, Melbourne) and Dr Danny Christiansen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). Collaborative links include the Biomedical Research Centre (Glenfield Hospital, Leicester) and the Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation (DMRC, Stanford Hall).

Richard is also involved in numerous sports performance projects and collaborations with the Sports Development Centre (Loughborough University), English Institute of Sport as well as several commercial consultancies.

Current PhD students

  • Rob Rogers Physiological determinants of cycling performance and potential strategies to enhance them in well trained populations
  • Paddy Harrison Optimising adaptations to endurance training
  • Donald Peden. Exploring the effects of acute and chronic interventions on mitochondrial respiration and exercise performance.
  • Farhana Rimi MBChB Endothelial cell phenotype in coronary artery disease. Clinical MPhil.

PhD completions as primary supervisor

  • Dr. Emma Mitchell. The use of blood flow restriction to enhance high-intensity endurance performance and skeletal muscle adaptation. (March 2019).
  • Dr. Conor Taylor. Manipulating exercise and recovery to enhance adaptations to sprint interval training in trained individuals. (January 2017).
  • Dr. Emilia Thompson. Evaluating forearm vascular adaptations to training interventions: an in vivo and in vitro approach. (May 2015).
  • Dr. Julie Hunt. The impact of blood flow restricted exercise on the peripheral vasculature. (December 2013).
  • Dr. Naroa Etxebarria. Improving running economy to enhance triathlon performance. (July 2013).
  • Dr. Stephen Patterson. Low load resistance training with blood flow restriction: Adaptations and mechanisms in young and older people. (July 2011).
  • Dr. Stuart Gray. Temperature and in vivo human locomotory muscle function and metabolism. (May 2007).

Richard is a Fellow of The Physiological Society where he acts as Society Rep. He is also Reviewing Editor for Experimental Physiology, and Associate Editor for European Journal of Sports Science

He is a regular reviewer for numerous international journals including: Acta Physiologica, American Journal of Physiology, European Journal of Applied Physiology, European Journal of Sport Sciences, Journal of Applied Physiology, Journal of Physiology, Journal of Sport Sciences, Journal of Sport Science and Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport.

Featured publications

  • Mitchell, E. A., Martin, N.R.W., Turner, M. C., Taylor, C. W., Ferguson, R. A. (2019). The effect of sprint interval training with post-exercise blood flow restriction on critical power, capillary growth and mitochondrial proteins in trained cyclists. Journal of Applied Physiology 126, 51-59.
  • Mitchell, E. A., Martin, N.R.W., Bailey, S. J., Ferguson, R. A. (2018). Critical power is positively related to skeletal muscle capillarity and type I muscle fibers in endurance trained individuals. Journal of Applied Physiology 125, 737–745.
  • Ferguson, R. A., Hunt, J. E. A., Lewis, M. P., Martin, N.R.W., Player, D., Stangier, C., Taylor, C. W., Turner, M. C. (2018). The acute angiogenic signaling response to low load resistance exercise with blood flow restriction. European Journal of Sport Science 18, 397-406.
  • Taylor, C. W., Ingham, S. A., Hunt, J. E. A., Martin, N. R. W., Pringle, J. S., Ferguson R. A. (2016). Exercise duration-matched interval and continuous sprint cycling induce similar increases in AMPK phosphorylation, PGC-1α and VEGF mRNA expression in trained individuals. European Journal of Applied Physiology 116, 1445-1454. See invited editorial: Gliemann L. 2016. Training for skeletal muscle capillarization: a Janus-faced role of exercise intensity? European Journal of Applied Physiology 116, 1443-1444.
  • Hunt, J. E. A., Stodart, C., Ferguson, R. A. (2016). The influence of participant characteristics on the relationship between cuff pressure and level of blood flow restriction. European Journal of Applied Physiology 116, 1421-1432.
  • Taylor, C. W., Ingham, S. A., Ferguson R. A. (2016). Acute and chronic effect of sprint interval training combined with post-exercise blood flow restriction in trained individuals. Experimental Physiology 101, 143–154.
  • Thompson, E.B., Farrow, L., Hunt, J. E. A., Lewis, M. P., Ferguson, R. A. (2015).  Brachial artery characteristics and micro-vascular filtration capacity in rock climbers. European Journal of Sport Science 15, 296-304.
  • Faulkner, S. H., Ferguson, R. A., Hodder, S. G., Havenith, G. (2013). External muscle heating during warm-up does not provide added performance benefit above external heating in the recovery period alone. European Journal of Applied Physiology 113, 2713–2721.
  • Hunt, J. E. A., Galea, D., Tufft, G., Bunce, D., Ferguson, R. A. (2013) Time course of regional vascular adaptations to low load resistance training with blood flow restriction. Journal of Applied Physiology 115, 403-411.
  • Patterson, S. D., Leggate, M., Nimmo, M. A., Ferguson, R. A. (2013). Circulating hormone and cytokine response to low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction in older men. European Journal of Applied Physiology 113, 713-719.
  • Hunt, J. E. A, Walton, L. A., Ferguson, R. A. (2012). Brachial artery modifications to blood flow restricted handgrip training and detraining. Journal of Applied Physiology 112, 956-961.
  • Patterson, S. D., Ferguson, R. A. (2011). Resistance training with blood flow restriction enhances the increase in strength and peak post occlusive calf blood flow in older people. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 19, 201-213.
  • Patterson, S. D., Ferguson, R. A. (2010). Increase in calf post-occlusive blood flow and strength following short term resistance exercise training with blood flow restriction in young women. European Journal of Applied Physiology 108, 1025-1033.